On the 15th we drove 132 miles south to the main Escapees location, Rainbow's End. We were last here in February 2004 and should be back in November 2006. Here is our campsite:
We were on the edge of "The Hill" and had a view across to the Activity Center, as long as no one camped in the spaces.
Coming to Rainbow's End is kind of like coming home, since the Escapees are an extended family. Bill joined the Advisory Council in November and is now thinking of ways for the club to improve and grow. We had a nice brunch with Cathie and Budd Carr, Cathie is the CEO of Escapees. We attended social hour at 4PM every day and helped with preparation for the Sunday ice cream social. We met some new friends. Some old friends live at Rainbows End and we visited. The Smith family, who we last saw at Hanna Park in Jacksonville, came in and camped right in front of us. This time the Smith's were not zooming around, so we had more visit time than in Jacksonville where they were on the go.
Livingston is like that, it is a small town and most places to go are a ways away. We didn't venture out much. The weather was variable, some days were cold and wet and others were warm and humid.
This is the inside of the Activity Center before social hour:
Our neighbor had bird feeders out and the birds had found them. Evita really liked the show:
The famous telephone pole, this was where everyone hooked to electricity when Rainbow's End was built and it is preserved for history:
The club house, which was the original main building. Cathie and Bud Carr's motorhome is parked out front:
Escapees Headquarters, which has been added on to many times and shows it with the wild roof lines:
A shot of the Activity Center, where large groups meet:
We didn't take any pictures of the CARE facility, but spent time there. Diane helped out and we donated many items they could use or sell to finance operations. CARE is adult day care for RVers, you pay a reasonable amount per month and live in your RV. They feed you, do laundry, provide nursing support, provide activities, and can help with cleaning. It is a wonderful operation. If you are a member of AARP the February 2006 issue has a nice article on CARE.
We did see some interesting things in the area, this is rural Texas. We saw a car parked in this carport, but never caught it with the camera:
One day we had to stop for some loose horses and a donkey on the road, here is the donkey:
As far as we are concerned Livingston has many two and two-and-a-half star restaurants. Two made it to three star at least once for us, Taste of Italy, and El Burrito. El Burrito is TexMex, which only vaguely resembles real Mexican. Diane's food restrictions kept us away from the Cajun, BBQ and Seafood places.
We had our mail sent to Livingston and once it arrived we headed out, we had been in town ten nights.
On the 25th it was raining hard and we traveled 101 miles to the Katy, TX Elks lodge. Bill got the pain of driving the freeways of Houston, TX in the rain and it was not fun. Here is our campsite at the lodge, showing how wet it was:
The second picture is the back parking lot of the lodge taken from where our car was parked:
We were close to Houston to do some shopping and that was what we did. Once set up at the lodge we drove back into Houston and took TX6/FM1960 north with Diane driving the car. It took us over an hour to get to Fry's Electronics where we bought a new wireless access point and two pc-cards for our notebooks to go with them. Then we found a couple other stores and stopped for dinner. We got back to the lodge about 9PM and left before 4PM. Houston traffic deserves all the horror stories.
The reason we bought a new wireless access point was we had become quite dependant on having our own wireless system with our satellite internet and keep encountering campgrounds with their own wireless that they want money for. The problem is they don't want us to interfere with the for pay wireless. Even when we took pains to make sure we were not interfering they still said we were. Our old wireless runs at 2.2GHZ, the normal wireless frequency range for 802.11b and 802.11g. We bought equipment to run at 5GHZ, which is 802.11a. We can run our equipment and the park won't know we are there. Tengo systems were the worst. They would often use multiple wireless channels and even more around which channels they used, so it was impossible to not interfere some days.
In the morning Bill got the access point running, it also handled 802.11g so we could use it. That worked so we both installed the drivers for the pc-cards and tried to get them running. No luck on either machine. The quick install guide screen shots did not match what we were seeing. We went onto the internet and checked for newer drivers, the latest was from 2004 and didn't behave any better. We decided D-Link hadn't made their drivers work with the latest Windows XP service packs. The access point was also from D-Link, but seemed to be working fine.
We thought we were going to do some shopping close to Katy and then drive to the nearest Costco in Houston for food staples. With the need to go back to Fry's we had to zoom. We ended up taking the toll road to Fry's, which made the trip about 45 minutes instead of an hour. We exchanged the D-Link cards for Linksys cards and handed them $75 more dollars. We stopped at Costco on the way back to the motorhome.
The Linksys cards worked and Bill turned off the 802.11g part of the access point. If we want to share our internet connection he knows how to turn the 802.11g (2.2GHZ) back on quickly. It was 4PM on a Sunday.
We drove out and did the shopping we were after, luckily the stores were open until 6PM. After dinner we drove 6 miles to a Super Target for a couple items, we had already been to Super Wal-Mart. It was a long day and we were moving to a new place in the morning.
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